Coming off of a 13-4 season in 2022-23 and an NFC North title, quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings are hoping for more of the same this fall.
A remarkable 11 of those 13 wins a season ago came by one score, and Cousins directed an NFL record-tying eight game-winning drives.
Perhaps none of those 11 was more memorable than on Dec. 17 at home against the Indianapolis Colts. Trailing 33-0 at halftime and 36-7 late in the third quarter, the Vikings roared back thanks to Cousins’ four second-half touchdown tosses to tie the score at 36. Minnesota went on to win in overtime, 39-36.
The 33-point comeback was the largest in NFL history and helped cement Cousins’ reputation as a clutch late-game performer.
However, many pundits have pointed to the fact that the Vikings got extremely “lucky” last season — combined with the fact that star running back Dalvin Cook is now a New York Jet — to suggest Minnesota will take a significant step backward in 2023-24.
Cousins revealed his mindset about outside noise in a recent interview with KARE 11 News: “If we win football games, it doesn’t really matter what people say.”
QB1 ready 👍 pic.twitter.com/Hct6pV5txR
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 17, 2023
Now 35, Cousins is entering his 12th year in the NFL. In a league where the average career lasts 3.3 years, Cousins built a football resume that far surpasses what many, sometimes even himself, thought possible for the former two-star recruit from Holland, Michigan.
And what’s more, he seems to be getting better with age. He’s been named to four Pro Bowls overall and three of the last four, passed for the second-most yards of any of his professional seasons a year ago (4,547) and led the Vikings to the playoffs twice after signing a massive contract with the team in 2018.
A steadfast follower of Christ since his college days at Michigan State, Cousins has an inkling as to why his Heavenly Father has allowed him to have such an enduring and successful career. It all comes back to the glory of God.
Cousins said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast this past March that, starting at Michigan State, his family would pray the Bible verses Ephesians 3:20-21 over his career. The verses say, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
“I look back now with a sample size that’s much larger with the number of years we’ve been playing, and you can see the times that that prayer has been answered,” he said.
Cousins has long been outspoken and unashamed of his faith in Christ. The man who wakes up early to commune with God — who prays before, during and after games, who regularly shares his faith with teammates in the Vikings locker room — boldly shared the Gospel at February’s Super Bowl Breakfast after receiving the 2023 Bart Starr Award honoring football success and the Christian faith.
Whether the critics are right and the Vikings are in for a disappointing season, or they’re wrong about “Captain Kirk” yet again, Cousins knows God can and will be glorified either way. And in God’s sovereignty he will find refuge.
“It’s the losses where you’re reminded that I don’t know what I’m doing, and I need help, and God’s gonna have to be bigger than my shortcomings and my inadequacies,” Cousins said on the podcast. “So both the wins and the losses become great opportunities to recognize who God is in your life.”
Cousins and the Vikings will open the regular season at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. ET.
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